April 2007 Archives

April 30, 2007

Google Authors

Google now have a homepage for Authors@Google, and a YouTube page too.

Talks of interest include John Scalzi, Kelly Link and Karen Joy Fowler and Neil Gaiman.

Doctor Who wins a sack load of Welsh BAFTAs

From the BBC...

"The Doctor Who show has cleaned up at the Bafta Cymru Awards for the second year running, managing to win in eight of 13 nominations."


"Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood won four gongs including best drama series and best actress for Eve Myles."

Okay, I don't know much about the Welsh BAFTAs, does the show have to be made in Wales? Either way surely something, anything, is better than Torchwood? What about Pobol y Cwm?!

April 29, 2007

Alt.Fiction 2007 - Who I met

I'm going to give some shout-outs to the people I met yesterday at Alt.Fiction (ooh, it's gone all local radio here).

First off the BSFA Orbiter posse:

This was the first time that I'd met any of them except Terry, so it was cool talking in person after a year or more of email only contact. I also finally got round to buying a copy of Time Pieces from Ian.

Then there was some people from the interwebnettubes:

We had a good discussion about our web sites, things to do etc. They both had big plans and visions. Whereas I didn't. What? My little, old blog? Good fun meeting them in person.

Then a selection of other people I got talking to:

  • Chaz Brenchley showed me their lovely Ghost Story collection.
  • Suzanne McLeod, look out for her book, due soon(ish), and the first in a series (which sounds very cool).
  • Donna Scott, who bizzarely went to the same college as me, at the same time. (The accent gave it away). We spent ten minutes saying, "do you know...?". I also vaguely promised I'd try and write a Dark Fantasy story for her (not that I actually know what that means).
  • ...lots of other people whose names I've forgotten.

I had a great time, nice meeting everyone.

Alt.Fiction 2007 - What I did

I had an excellent time at Alt.Fiction in Derby yesterday. Here's a run down on what I did (who I met deserves an entire post of its own).....

Continue reading Alt.Fiction 2007 - What I did.

Iain Banks' next Culture novel, Matter

Yesterday at Alt.Fiction 2007 Iain Banks revealed that his next Culture novel is due for release in February and is to be called Matter. Apparently the working title for The Steep Approach To Garbadale was Matter and he's decided to call the Culture novel the same to annoy everyone on the internet. Ha.

He also read a section of the book out, it contained everything you'd expect from a Culture novel : drones, inferior societies, carnage, sarcasm and wit.


April 27, 2007

Alt.Fiction tomorrow

It's Alt.Fiction in Derby tomorrow, and I'm going. I see that Ariel is going, as is a veritable posse from the BSFA Orbiters (well, five of us).

It's a great line up, I'm particularily looking forward to seeing Iain M Banks, Harry Harrison and Peter F Hamilton.

No "live-blogging", I'll be taking a pen and a notebook.

Say hello if you see me, I'll probably be wearing my Threadless Rayguns T-Shirt...

April 26, 2007

Cormac McCarthy to appear on Oprah

From The Underwire (a Wired blog), comes news that Cormac McCarthy, who won the Pulitzer prize for his SF The Road, is to appear on Oprah's talk show.

Get ready for a wealth of "As Others See Us" quotes.

April 25, 2007

Sunshine silly?

Adam Roberts reviews Sunshine in Strange Horizons Reviews.

He says it is silly.

Death Ray, a new UK SF magazine?

Interesting, Death Ray appears to be a not yet published UK magazine, along the lines of SFX, and created by Matt Bielby, the ex-Future Publishing editor who launched SFX. What's interesting is the main source of information about the magazine is a Wikipedia article that clearly contradicts the wikipedia guidelines. 21st century marketing in action. It might be nice to have some competition to SFX, as long as that means a bit more depth too. [Via Locus]

2007 Hugo nominee reviews

John@SFSignal has a great review of the 2007 Hugo Award Short Fiction Nominees. Yes, all of them. Nice work.

Bizzarely I've used almost exactly the same words as Paul. Great(ish) minds...

A James Lovegrove interview

ActuSf, le site web de l'actualité de la science fiction, interviews James Lovegrove (in English). [Via Locusmag]

Interesting stuff on the influences for Days:
"My mother’s family used to own a department store and I’d go there as a boy and the place seemed enormous to me, a whole world in itself. We’d ride up in the private elevator to the top floor, where my uncles worked in the boardroom, but I would also wander the shop floor for hours at a time, alone, looking at all the displays and the ornate water fountain and such."

Vote Saxon

The Doctor Who web bunnies have been busy again for the new series of Doctor Who. Roy pointed me at Vote Saxon - The People's Campaign. Which has nothing explicit to link it to Doctor Who... but it is. I love the detail they put into the spin-off websites.

My only confusion is that I thought John Simm was stuck in 1973.

April 24, 2007

More PKD movie son the way?

The Website at the End of the Universe has news that five PKD stories are optioned for movies: Valis, Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, Radio Free Albemuth, Adjustment Team and Time Out of Joint.


I'll enjoy any one that stays faithful as much as A Scanner Darkly did.

More on the Sony Reader

37 Signals have a review of the Sony Reader, which looks like the closest thing at present to an ipod for books.

"The crowning jewel of the Reader is the screen. The eInk display is a whopping 150dpi, has fantastic contrast, and has a 180 degree viewing angle. It doesn’t have a backlight, so you do have to have a light source to read by, but that also means that it is extremely thrifty as far as battery consumption is concerned. It really does seem like you’re reading from a printed page. It’s that good."

Dawn of theTechnopeasants

I finally got around to reading the post that started the whole technopeasant thing.

It made me laugh.

More International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day freebies

I'm still finding more fiction that has been released online thanks to International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day. Here's a big list.

April 23, 2007

Missile Gap by Charles Stross, online

Subterranean Press have put the whole of Missile Gap by Charles Stross online. It sounds like an alternative history cold war novel.

April 22, 2007

Thoughts on the BSFA awards

So, everyone has seen them by now, but here they are for my benefit.

Best Artwork
Angelbot, Fangorn (Cover of Time Pieces, ed. Ian Whates)

Best Short Fiction
The Djinn's Wife, Ian McDonald (June edition of Asimov's)

Best Novel
End of the World Blues, Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Gollancz)

Seems, like good choices. I haven't read the stories, but love both of the authors recent work. (I'm waiting for End of the World Blues in paperback... I seriously need free review copies to stay current.)

I'm particularly pleased for the artwork award, because Ian is in my writing group, and I thought it was the coolest .

The length of reviews

Still catching up. I found the discussion of review length in Interzone quite interesting.
Here's what Jetse said, Here's what Jonathan said. I bet the discussions at Eastercon were interesting. In fact... just found the audio of the Reviewing And Criticism panel over at Velcro City Tourist Board. I shall make time to listen to it soon.

Of course, anyone who regularily reads this blog knows that I am in the short review camp.

April 19, 2007

2007 Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductees

This year's Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. They are:

...and the ceremony will be hosted by Neal Stephenson, which sounds cool. The press release I got even offers a number to call if "reporters" fancy attending. I could be a reporter, although don't think I can get to Seattle for the ceremony on June 16th.

If you fancy paying, tickets for the June induction ceremony will be available for purchase on Monday, April 30 for EMP/SFM members ($40) and Monday, May 7 for the general public ($50).

April 17, 2007

Been away, came back

Hello all. I've been in Sydney (Australia) for 3 weeks, having a great time. I hope the collection of auto-posted reviews made sure that the place didn't look too empty. If you left a comment and I haven't replied it isn't because I'm ignoring you, I just haven't had interweb access for 3 weeks.

What did I miss?
Well, I know that I missed Eastercon, the BSFA awards, the start of the new series of Doctor Who, the end of Life On Mars, 3 episodes of Lost and Battlestar Galactica. And I think Kurt Vonnegut died.

Managed to catch up on a few movies on the plane (videos on demand, I love you)...

  • The Prestige

  • The Fountain

  • Deja Vu

  • Stranger Than Fiction

  • Rocky Balboa

  • The Good Shepherd

Just done a first pass of my email. Blog comments next. Then my feeds...

More here when everything has stopped swaying and I know what day it is.

April 14, 2007

Burn - James Patrick Kelly

Burn is a Hugo and Nebula nominated novella from James Patrick Kelly. It is available
for free download here.

The story is about a firefighter, Spur, on a world that has chosen to remain low-tech. One faction of the world want to carpet it in forest, the others don't and set fire to the trees. It's an interesting setting, and gradually the world's isolation and reasons for it are revealed.

The story starts with Spur's recuperation from a nasty burn accident, and then follows his journey home. In some ways the story is quite traditional, one of a war hero returning home after an injury, but there are enough extra ingredients to make a difference (for example, the post-singularity isolation thread). However what raises the novella above a mere adventure story is the neat emotional plot layered on top, involving family and friends, and resulting in a nice finish (which I won't spoil).

The slow bits for me were the explanations of the fire fighting and the forest fires, they seemed realistic but it's something we never experience here in the UK and I felt a bit bored with the detail.

All in all though a nice story. Worth downloading and reading.

April 9, 2007

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Attwood

I found a second hand copy of The Handmaid's Tale in an Oxfam bookshop, for £2. Which seems a bargain for the first ever winner of the Arthur C Clarke award. The one reservation I had is the author herself, all the moaning about not being SF and the squids in space quotes put me off. But, it's the art not the artist that should be judged, so I forgot about how much Attwood has annoyed me and began to read.

Continue reading The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Attwood.

April 6, 2007

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

I finally got round to watching my DVD of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. And it was worth it.

I knew from the start that there was something different going on. It just felt it. Along of course with the truly brilliant acting from Jim Carey and Kate Winslet. Great stuff, it's one of those great Jim Carey films. (It seems he only does great or terrible, binary style). It took me a while to actually figure out the mystery twist, and I enjoyed it, very satisfying.

I won't say too much about the plot except that it's a brilliant what-if examination of memory loss, an old SF trope, but the execution is perfect. It's the sort of SF that's so good that people trip over themselves to deny that it is SF. But it is.

It was top of my SF films that I haven't seen list. Done. Very satisfying. Next.

April 2, 2007

Infoquake - David Louis Edelman

One of my Christmas presents was the Pyr trade paperback edition of Infoquake by David Louis Edelman. (In fact, as an aside, Amazon.co.uk blurs the line between US editions and UK editions so much that sometimes it's hard to spot which are US and which are UK).

There seems to have been quite a buzz about Infoquake, or maybe that's just because I read the blogs which have been talking about it, including the author and editor. However I'm afraid that I didn't like Infoquake.

Continue reading Infoquake - David Louis Edelman.